Grace Bailey (right) leaves Camden Harbor Friday as part of the Camden Windjammer Festival in this Sept. 2, 2016, file photo. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

CAMDEN, Maine — It’s not an easy feat to navigate windjammers, the wooden tall ships that are icons of Maine’s maritime history.

With only sail power, getting into tight spaces can prove difficult, especially if there are other boats, conflicting tides or strong winds.

But that will be the scene in Camden Harbor Friday, as more than a dozen windjammers from Camden, Rockland and Belfast Harbor sail into port for the 25th annual Windjammer Festival.

“It’s quite a feat to maneuver big boats that do not have engines in and around the harbor to get them all lined up in their parking spaces along the docks in the inner harbor,” Holly Edwards, who organizes the Camden Windjammer Festival, said. “It’s like a dance out there, and it’s really fascinating to watch.”

The vessels will begin to arrive Friday afternoon, and the incoming parade of windjammers is a focal point of the festival. Edwards said people will sit all afternoon watching the ships come in, as Capt. Jim Sharp, of the Sail, Power and Steam Museums, gives commentary on each arriving vessel, noting their history.

This is the third year that the town of Camden has organized the event, taking over from the Penobscot Bay Region Chamber of Commerce. The festival was started 25 years ago by a private citizen who put on the festival for the public to enjoy.

Edwards said the town of Camden, which has a history rooted in shipbuilding, saw the benefits that the festival and windjammers as a whole brought to the community, and were interested in helping the festival live on.

“Schooners and windjammers are a big part of Camden’s history,” Edwards said. “So [the festival] is truly just a celebration, of not only Camden’s maritime heritage […] but to celebrate and really thank the windjammers and the schooners for what they bring to the community.”

Camden harbor boasts one of the largest windjammer fleets on Maine’s coast, which has served as a draw for the small coastal town, Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell previously told the Bangor Daily News.

Maintaining a healthy windjammer fleet was a motivator behind the town changing the licenses for the vessels — which typically do multi-day overnight trips — to include the ability to conduct up to 15 day-sails per year, up from the previously allowed two. Camden Harbor is also home to numerous schooners which provide exclusively day-sailing trips.

Both day sailing schooners and windjammers will be docked in Camden for the festival this weekend.

In previous years, the Windjammer Festival has spanned three days, beginning Friday afternoon and ending Sunday. However, this year the festival will only be two days, kicking off at 9 a.m. Friday and ending Saturday evening.

In the past, Edwards said Sunday had typically been a slower day since the ships leave Saturday evening or early Sunday morning to embark on their multiday trips.

The festival is free and includes events for both children and adults. A full schedule of events can be found on their website.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.